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I’m Going to Be Heartbroken…

If the Dixie Chicks are actually breaking up, and it’s not just that Martie Maguire and Emily Robison are recording an album without Natalie Maines. I love the Chicks, and not in the ironic way that I love the admittedly-sometimes-indefensible Toby Keith. One of my editors recommended I start listening to country while I wrote a couple of years ago, because she said the narratives in the songs would help, and the Dixie Chicks were definitely one of the bands I had in heavy rotation while I was testing out her advice. Ultimately, I think the rhythms of hip-hop work better for me (I need something to bounce back and forth to while I write, and the cadences of rap just work for that), but I got a good education. I can see how the pressure the band’s been under, both political and commercial, could be hard to stand, and that they might need a serious break from each other. But in case this is the last we’re going to get, can we discuss for a minute how completely fantastic their music videos often were? Take “Goodbye Earl,” which gives a starring role to Jane Krakowski, and which actually makes it clear how ugly battery can be in between the black humor:

Or how about the one for “Not Ready to Make Nice,” which is, to a certain extent, political overkill, but still incredibly stark and lovely, and I think communicates some of the tension her bandmates must have felt towards Natalie, even if they were broadly supportive of her right to speak her mind. The ink swirling in the water gets me every time:

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And then there’s “Without You,” which is the rare music video that uses nudity to communicate tenderness and vulnerability rather than sexiness: